It’s Aroldis Chapman time in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Reds are calling up Aroldis Chapman in order to strengthen the Reds’ bullpen as they head toward the 2010 Major League Baseball postseason. Chapman had the appeal of Stephen Strasburg before many Major League fans even knew about Strasburg yet, and the attention is only going to grow now that he will finally be making his Major League debut. It’s quite possible that Chapman is about to become the hardest-throwing pitcher we have ever seen play in the big leagues as well.
The Cincinnati Reds have pulled out to a six-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central, and the distance seems to be growing almost daily. The Cardinals have lost their last three games, and have started to fall out of the National League Wild Card race too. They are now three wins behind the San Francisco Giants and four wins behind the Philadelphia Phillies. The Reds have won six of their last 10 games, and now sit with the second-best record in the National League at 76-55. Anyone who predicted that at the beginning of the year is a genius.
According to ESPN, Chapman has hit 105 mph on the radar gun down at Triple-A, and, for a long stretch of his last game, he was hitting 103 mph consistently. That’s faster than Stephen Strasburg was throwing, and would make Chapman the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in baseball. That’s not how the Reds foresee using him, though, as he will instead go into the bullpen and present another stopper who can shut down the other team in relief. The scary thing for opposing batters is that Chapman doesn’t have the best control yet, so it is dangerous to crowd the plate when Chapman is pitching.
The reason that Chapman is getting the call on Aug. 31 is so that he will be on the Reds’ playoff roster, which has to be set today before the roster expansion date of Sept. 1. This will give them the flexibility to take Chapman into the postseason with them if he turns out to have a lot of early success. He won’t be overworked by the team either, because the roster moves from 25 players up to 40 on Sept. 1, meaning they can call him up now and let him gradually work into the bullpen rotation. If you haven’t seen Chapman pitch yet, this is a kid you want to watch a Reds game to see.